Meeting Notes 2015-06-10

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Sudoroom Weekly Meeting June 10, 2015

last week: https://sudoroom.org/wiki/Meeting_Notes_2015-06-03

intros

q1: what forums do you lurk? q2: why don't you go to meetings?

  • yar: all of them. i do dammit.
  • remote-deilann: I do not go to meetings because I cannot assume that folks who have been asked to leave the space *yesterday* will not be in the space.
  • remote-jnny: I don't go to meetings because I am learning to step back when I've gotten in too deep.
  • sam: most places that require registration or do not respect privacy. Yeah, kind of agree w/jenny that there can be too much sudo at times
    • jenny: Not too much sudo, too much jenny.
      • sam: too little jenny :( daw..
  • daniel: nice to be home. :)
  • Torrie: hacker-at-large, identifies as a cactus

Egon

  • yar: ryan asked him to leave yesterday. he showed up today anyway and lied to joe saying it was all resolved. he's not here now. if he was he'd be asked to leave immediately.
    • sam: Unfortunately, we have a problem with people refusing to leave when asked (Egon included)
    • ryan: He got incredibly aggressive and gaslighty last night when asked to leave. I was the problem. Sam was the problem. He's never done anything wrong. I'm overreacting and crazy.
  • ryan: I am really skeeved out by joe asking for deets on every safer space conflict.
  • yar: this is bullshit. i vote for permaban, except only 2 members are here, and 2 remoting.
  • ryan: he had already been asked temp to leave when he followed me outsiide and verbally assaulted me after a sudo meeting and then refused to leave my personal space.
    • yar: i remember that. didn't realize it was the same person until recently (trouble recognizing faces)
    • ryan: I have trouble recognizing him too sometimes, which makes it extra tough dealing with him.
    • yar: does anyone have a picture we can post?
      • ryan: CCL might, as he tends to hang out at their socials
  • yar: so what else can we do at this meeting? anyone willing to be mediator or sterward until we can permaban?
    • jenny: that's on egon to reach out for a mediator if he wants to engage the process, maybe we should set up a sudo mediation mailing list... was this in sudo?
    • yar: ok i guess we just spread the word that he's not banned and move on
    • sam: in CCL, but disruption was spread to Sudo as well.
    • ryan: i was invoking sudo's policy, not omni's... feel like it's stronger and better supported
      • jenny: maxamillion and I could steward/mediate this one.. if only cuz I wanna train more folks in our process, and egon trusts max, maybe ryan trusts me?
      • yar: honestly in this case i don't want to waste any more time on egon but whatever
      • jenny: I feel that, there have been complaints from niki and Renette as well
  • torrie: we've had problems with egon at noisebridge. his first handle was "86me" which is a huge red flag. he totally disrupted things and was not good to have around.
    • ryan: we're kind of done discussing egon himself, and more talking about how to keep stuff like this from happening
    • yar: but i'm trying to see if we can get quorum. idk.
    • ryan: move discussion back up?
  • (a wild torrie appears)
    • Egon's been asked to leave from Noisebridge, and never really showed up again since then.
    • Joined our slack under pretenses of wanting to contribute positive energies, picked the nym "86me", and was incredibly disruptive and unexcellent. Called the core contributors elitist, argued there was some classism war going on, and generally refused to participate in the community other than to say how wrong everything is.
    • Was associated with the anti-cabal cabal of ~5 months ago
    • tdfischer gives a +1 for a ban
  • ryan: another note... hard to tell what's reality, but I had to be walked back to the bus stop and egon was standing in front of the liquor store just glaring at me as I went by
  • jenny: he and Renette got into it and he kept instigating her, approaching her and saying things like "your pussy stinks". Niki was going to move to ban him before i left town
    • ryan: jesus fucking christ
  • yar: in the interest of "nobody can use our bureaucracy against us"... let's just poll the people physically and virtually present for their opinions on a permaban from sudoroom
  • CONSENSUS: egon is banned from sudoroom for safe space reasons. 11 yes, 3 abstain, 0 blocks
  • remote niki votes yes as well
  • egon also got our neighbors in the RVs evicted from dover street, and his behavior on that street also provoked a neighbor to complain to La Commune threatening them with negative yelp reviews and various things. They think that group represents Omni.
    • Jenny: This is a serious concern also. Maybe we need to have an intervention re: Nic's RV?
  • Niki: Egon also aggressively approached me on 57th a few weeks ago asking if I "had a problem with him". Didn't know wtf he was talking about but his attitude was really intimidating
  • robot voice: "jake is coming to the meeting"
  • yar: ok so we have formally banned him from sudoroom for safe space reasons. now we take that to omni i guess.
    • ryan: reciprocal ban policy, right?
    • yar: on paper it requires conflict resolution but i think this is an opportunity to change peoples' minds about that. i will try my best.
    • ryan: i can try to show up for tomorrow's meeting. all i ask is assurance that egon is NOT there an hour before the meeting.
    • There's no meeting tomorrow as we now meet every other week...
    • ryan: right, totes forgot
    • niki: Let's put all aggro cis dudes on a probationary period! We don't need any more of them! :D
      • jnny: +1
      • ryan: ++
      • yar: +++
    • niki: can we agree that Egon has now wasted enough of our emotional energies and close this conversation? I'm willing to deliver the news to him . What's the official decision? Asked to leave pending mediation or perma-ban?
      • ryan: ++; permaban, he was asked to leave pending mediation until this meeting
        • niki: roger that. no love lost.
  • DK: I add my vote to the Sudo ban of Egon for several reasons, including that coming back anyway after being asked to leave is a major red flag even if that is not the most egregious / crappy behavior reported. I also agree completely with everything Ryan said in his email about challenges we face in our current process with conflict and upholding safe space, to a T. I do feel ill-informed about the exact exchange that occurred to prompt this but I expect this is something to be taken up in the space of mediation, and not necessarily aired here.
    • niki: we're not offering mediation, this would be a permanant ban
    • dk: I'm not saying this isn't justified, but I am concerned that we apply the same standards to every member of our community and not perma-ban some while others get mediation, ie I am worried about selective application of our policies and being fair to everyone.
    • juul: we can selectively make decisions any way we want. we are consensus-based after all. our policies are changeable and mediation was originally meant to apply to interpersonal conflicts between 2 or 3 people
    • niki: i hear you but seriously let's not waste so much time on people who are assholes.
    • dk: I agree, but for example if Egon or anyone approaches me and asks why they were banned I feel that if I voted for the ban, i would like to have a clear rationale and reason why that I can directly express that is unequivocal and not just "because you're being an asshole."
    • ryan: I feel like if egon reached out a couple months later explaining how he's changed and recognized all of the bad shit he did and why he was asked to leave, we'd re-evaluate. A perma-ban doesn't actually mean permanent when any meeting can overturn what the last meeting said.
    • jnny: would like to propose an addition to our policy that anyone who returns to the space after they've been asked to leave be banned for some set period (3 months?). less on our end of having to mediate an aggressor.
      • ryan: ++
      • dk: I agree with jenny's suggestion.
      • juul: autoban sounds good
    • dk: I do think everyone deserves a space to be heard and respond at some point or at some place that does not involve the affective labour of the entire community, or especially the person(s) who was antagonized. I don't know the best mechanism, but not having this..I don't know.
      • I don't think we need to provide a place for assholes to be heard, but if someone feels like doing that they can of course always do it
      • ryan: he can email sudo info.
      • niki: let's be realistic about our current capacities. we don't really have the bandwidth to handhold people who continue to engage in shitty behaviors ++
      • ryan: he can also just post random stuff to a paste-bin in teh hopes that one day we will stumble upon it and realize how wrong we all were
    • dk: I agree entirely about our (limited) capacities, and I agree with Marc that we should not hand-hold assholes. Totally. But.. this is some policy-level shit that has repercussions beyond assholes and I want to be sure we are not seen as not being fair, even though we are more than fair and it hurts us. I don't know the answer but..
      • ryan: I don't think there are reprecussions? I think we have the ability to be flexible enough to handle what comes up in teh future. Let's stop worrying about hypotheticals, and deal with the ground-level shit we're facing.
    • dk: I agree about hypotheticals. Flexibility I want. I also want clarity and I think we need it in terms of determining why SOME assholes get 4 months of agonizing mediation while other assholes just get booted. But maybe that's just moot.
    • ryan: I think teh answer, actually is to stop giving assholes four months of agonizing mediation in the future.
      • jnny: ++, and if we pass the above policy addiion this means we also don't have to deal with kwic and kwe no more :P
    • dk: Well you guys, I'm not saying it all has to be figured out right now but I would like to know how this fits into our other stated value of not replicating the repressive, punitive aspects of the judicial system which is also systemic oppression and adopt some sort of transformative model.
      • jenny: we're not perpetuating the continued silencing of people who've been victimized or abused, but putting those voices in the priority slot they belong. Unnecessary punitive measures are throwing someone in jail for 20 years for pot possession or some shit. Keeping aggressive dudes out of a community space is good and noble work.
    • dk: actually I don't think that's a good example. The example is, opposing guilt and innocence with no space for restorative practices or community practices..
    • ryan: we gave him a chance and his immediate response was to come back to the space the next day and lie to joe about what happened.
        • can new amendments be retroactively applied like that? seems unfair.
          • it's up to us, isn't it?
    • dk: Ok. For me this is not about egon any more it is about what we do moving forward. I agree with what you said about egon. I just need to square it with our values.
    • ryan: moving forward, I think we do what we do moving forward. does that make sense? every conflict is different.
    • ryan: i think it's more important to deal with new memberships? i mean, right now we're silencing the disembodied robot voice.
    • dk: do what you like, for me I guess how we deal with conflict and getting better at it is maybe one of the more important things to sort out
    • ryan: I'm not saying we shouldn't get better at it. I'm saying if we try to make a one size fits all solution, we're not going to get better at it.
    • dk: Fair enough. Banning everyone who is an asshole is a one-size-fits-all solution.. or rather, all-assholes solution. but anyway. I digress
    • ryan: yup. we don't have a ban all assholes policy
    • dk: move on to memberships if you like, but I have been through this before where a member collective of two people tried to pass a measure where anyone they thought was an asshole was auto-banned from the entire space and that is not a great way to scale or operate a space with a hell of a lot of different people, cultures, backgrounds etc. but that's just me being a worrier and not about egon, or people who demonstrate through longstanding patterns of behavior how they are assholes. If that makes sense. But its fucking worrying and we should be very careful and thoughtful about doing this is my feeling. I know everyone else has had it but I just want it to be a conscious and careful act and maybe everyone has already thought it through but I am only doing that now. that's all
      • jnny: "people who demonstrate through longstanding patterns of behavior how they are assholes" - that is exactly what we're talking about, David.
    • jenny: doesn't sound like a collective to me if it's two people.
  • dk: TIL.
    • ryan: i am getting close to putting forward a proposal defining a collective
    • ryan: one thing we were actually talking about is the fact that if there's no conflict resolution for a sudo permaban it has to do go to the delegate's meeting.
  • dk: ok. I am just trying to be thoughtful about this not saying anyone else ISNT not at all but that is me and what I am trying to do here.
  • ryan: i think i can see a difference between your thoughtfulness and others' need to know every single deet about every conflict so they can be the arbiter
  • dk: I think it should be hard to ban someone. Not a piece of cake. Well, not hard, but something that requires deliberation and discussion and thought.
    • jenny: I think it should be easy to ban someone if you're a trusted member of a collective, and slightly harder if you're not.
    • juul: Since the beginning of sudo room my opinion has been that membership and access is a privilege: It should be easy to get into sudo room and easy to get banned. We have a very high standard for people's behaviour and we are willing to work with people who are humble and willing to change, but if you do not live up to our standards and your response to criticism is defensiveness and/or aggression then fuck you and good night.
    • ryan: I think it should be easy to ban someone.
    • dk: I hear you marc, and I understand that is Sudo's way, and I respect that. I am not at the meeting, I am piecing this together from these notes and what Ryan told me and others. I see the deliberative process itself as the 'hard' part ie the key part I am deliberating, me in my verbosity, long-winded way. And I think that should not be just pro-forma is all Im saying.
    • ryan: i feel like the earlier we ask people to leave, the less this will happen. irony. the longer we put up with behavior like this, the less we can mediate because it's grown to a fucked up point.
    • DK: Actually, this is part of the problem - the notion that the only way to deal with conflict is banning. That's a huge conceptual problem that has plagued this project for a long, long time. *
      • juul: Do you have any other ideas? Ideas that don't suck time and energy from our thinly spread volunteers?

^^^ exactly, juul.

    • ryan: being asked to leave for mediation is not banning.
    • DK: You just said he's not being asked to leave for mediation, he is perma-banned.. or maybe I misunderstood. Sigh. But yes, I do have other ideas and it is most definitely NOT sucking the fucking lifeblood out of already taxed and burnt volunteers!!
      • juul: He is definitely permabanned at this point (though if he comes back and asks to humbly go through mediation then we can make a decision based on that)
      • ryan: he was asked to leave pending mediation yesterday. He came today and lied to joe saying that everything was resolved last night. He has been asked to leave before. When all of the issues revolving around egon were brought up, we felt like continuing to hand him an olive branch was fucked.
    • DK: Ok. For the love of mike, this is not about EGON for me any more this about the conflict 'process' and being clear about it. For me.
    • ryan: okay, so to be clear about the process: pretty much all the time, people are asked to leave pending mediation. that can happen any time by any one. banning in sudo requires quorum and a proposal at a meeting.
    • boyd: yeah if somebody comes back after being officially asked to leave that's a big red flag for a longer ban like was said earlier
    • juul: Meeting is basically over. I'm going to get Caffeine!++ (hovering over text with cursor gives you the name or at least it used to) i know, purple is still unnamed.
  • DK: whatevs, dk out.
  • Is there a way to quantify this? Like, correlation of amount of verbal/written communication with person to actual improvement in behavior (like time gone without conflict)
    • go for it, unnamed. :)
    • boyd: Yeah as long as somebody doesn't just get surprised by being asked to leave out of the blue then that makes sense.
  • I can talk to egon if I get his email. Not extensively, just see if he is willing to change certain behaviors (like misgendering people). He claimed some of what Ryan said to me wasn't true, which makes me not sure whether I trust egon, but he did claim to uphold certain standards that he's being acused of not upholding
    • Who is this typing? Of course Egon is claiming to uphold good behavior, he says that to everybody then acts differently. I've seen it on a number of occasions..
    • boyd: I like the idea that people can petition to mediate if they wait out a period of time.


ryan's response

  • ryan: dk sent me an email reaching out and asking what he can do and I'd like to share my response:

You could take part in, or be an advocate in, the mediation. That would be a huge help. I feel like part of the problem with our mediation process is what to do when it's not just one person. It's not just an identifying everyone involved in a conflict, but also a solidarity issue. When it's just "one person who has a problem with another person" gaslighting is really, really easy. And Egon was seriously gaslighting last night, trying to portray me (and Sam) as the "crazy" ones. I honestly feel like there is a place in mediation for someone to say, "I didn't experience these behaviors, but I witnessed them/have been having to deal with them, and I cannot tolerate that kind of behavior in our community." This not only shows solidarity with the groups that are most damaged by aggressors in our community and better solidifies our safer space agreement, but also takes a significant amount of pressure off of the person who was repeatedly hurt by the person asked to leave.

If I were the only person participating in these mediation, the community is basically stating that it is my job to put time and work into bringing a person who was incredibly abusive to me back into the space. Which is a kind of fucked up obligation to put on the person being abused. If the community at large believes in restorative justice, the emphasis should be on the community at large to participate in restorative justice, not the people who are being harmed by the actions of abusers and perpetrators of violence, both physical and emotional.

In some ways, the conflict stewards and mediator take on this role, but they are meant to be a disinterested party in many ways. I think having interested parties who may not have been as damaged in the interactions is important.

I think the biggest issue is that the people who are most interested in bringing people back who have been asked to leave, or have been upset about safer space bans, are the same exact people who never agreed with the safer space policy in the beginning. They are the same people who think that most of the people advocating for it are whiny and overreacting. Too sensitive. Damaged. Broken. These are all words I've heard in the space.

Where do we find parties who are interested in restorative justice? I think in order to be interested in anything restorative it's important for those advocating for people to be brought back to the space to sincerely and honestly believe in the safer space policy and to empathize with the person who has been attacked. When we have people advocating for Nick to be brought back because he "apologized" even though the people who asked him to leave don't see an apology in his apology, there's a serious communication gap going on.

Perhaps the other best thing that can be done is to ask people to leave before they become systematically damaging. No one is entitled to the Omni's space, and by waiting for someone to become a large, community-wide problem before asking them to leave pending mediation, it makes mediation incredibly difficult to do. At this point, the people who have had violence inflicted upon them have had violence inflicted upon them for so long that it's nearly impossible to muster up the energy or the care to participate in meaningful restorative justice. We're just too tired and hurt.

Maybe the moment there's one of those many talks out in the smoking section about "how to deal" with someone who is, in all reality, violating the safer space policy, someone who has more power and privilege should ask them to leave. The same groups are regularly targeted by those who seem to be looking for a power trip at the Omni. Time and time again, it is women and trans folk who are targeted. I myself have noticed a pattern. Every time I have experienced repeated aggression or violence from a community member then move to non-engagement after exasperated conversations, that person has become a community-wide problem.

Why? I imagine it's a low hanging fruit issue. The most seemingly vulnerable people in the Omni are going to be first stop for a predator looking for a power fix. As a trans person in a wheelchair, I certainly fit that definition.

So I think the answer is that we need to uphold our values.

We need to stop giving people the benefit of the doubt time and time again.

When anyone sees a repeated violation of the safer space policy or someone talks about how to deal with repeated violations of the safer space policy, we need to ask the violator to leave.

If we wait until everyone is beaten down, we end up with the same old situation... stalled mediation, burnt out community members, and a lack of enforcement of the safer space agreement.

discussion

  • yar: thank you very much for writing that, ryan. i completely agree.
  • jnny: echo yar, we should hack on our conflict policy asap.. advocates is
  • yar: in my mind, sadly the issue is NOT just about policy but about solidarity, as ryan said.
  • sam: General agreement. Problems get worse when members or general people affiliated do not respect or agree with safe space policy, and end up hindering the process of getting someone to leave
    • ryan: at a special delegate's meeting we talked afterwards about this
  • yar: i feel like a lot of us end up whispering our solidarity to each other but then being afraid to voice it openly to the extent necessary
      • ryan: +1
    • yar: this can only be fixed by reaching the hearts and minds of the "safer space skeptics" we have in our community
  • dk:
   ** moved it up to the egon section, which is above my email; thought you were done typing, sorry

freedom

  • Torrie: Free Culture unconference happening at Noisebridge, Oct 24th. All day. Freecon.us. If you care about Free Culture, Free Software, Free Expression, Free * (as in freedom, not beer), you should show up.
  • everybody gives their opinions about freedom. it's a great conversation. would have it again.

announcements

  • 5mof theme: whoops!
  • Torrie: Noisebridge's (in)famous Five Minutes of Fame is happening again, as foretold in the runes. Next Thursday the 18th at 8pm. This month's theme: "Whoops".

omni building

door to basement

    • "this is not an exit" sign - hung, but it's just paper. fire inspector won't accept it.
    • sand down the door so it closes easier - not yet
    • covered light fixture - done!

hallway

    • frog eyes over door - done apparently!
    • covered ceiling light - nope
    • emergency bathroom light - nope
    • panic & lock hardware - not yet
    • door closer - not yet

west wall

    • more conduit - not yet
    • ethernet, etc still a mess

other

    • fire extinguishers - not yet
    • piles of lumber, pipe, metal pieces - still a mess

TODO

  • Juul has added paypal donations as an option for sudo room. The account info is in sudoroom.org:/root/passwords and whoever has sudo room bank account access should add the bank account and, if possible, set it up to automatically transfer everything incoming to the bank account. Who can take this on?
    • ryan: huzzah! i've seen a couple sudo-info emails asking about paypal
    • Torrie: !!💰💰💰💰💰💰!!
    • Jenny: I can do it <3


new members

disembodied robot voice

  • ryan: would not block for membership. the disembodied robot voice gives a lot to our community. it makes us safer, by making sure people don't miss the last BART train. it also encourages people not to sleep here, by making sure they don't miss the last BART train.
  • Torrie: would sponsor. I am also a robot/cactus/beepbooper hybrid and wish to see more of my own kind.
    • ryan: ++